SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — Trustees for the Dixie School District in the California city of San Rafael on Tuesday will consider a new name for the 150-year-old district after critics linked it to the Confederacy and slavery.
Trustees will vote Tuesday to change the name of the San Francisco Bay Area district to one of three possibilities: Laurel Creek, Creekside or Kenne school district.
They’ll also choose a new name for the district’s only elementary school, from Dixie Elementary to Big Rock, Lucas Valley or Creekside.
The name-change issue pitted parents against each other for months and generated heated debate in San Rafael, an overwhelmingly white city of 59,000 people. Some insisted the Dixie name is racially insensitive, while others complained the proposed change is political correctness run amok.
The board of trustees voted in April to change both the name of the San Francisco Bay Area district and the name of its elementary school by Aug. 22, when classes resume.
The cost of the name change, such as replacing signs, was estimated at nearly $40,000, but the Marin Community Foundation pledged to cover it.
Dixie is a nickname for the southern U.S. states that formed the pro-slavery Confederacy in 1860, sparking the Civil War. The legacy of the Confederacy prompts political, legal and cultural conflicts to this day.
Those who supported changing the name said the district was named Dixie by James Miller, the school founder, on a dare by Confederate sympathizers. Those who opposed the change said the school system was named for Mary Dixie, a Miwok Indian woman who Miller knew in the 1840s.